My Monthly Update for January 2017

It has been a quiet start to the year due to work keeping me very busy. Most of my spare time (when not sitting shattered on the sofa) was spent resurrecting my old website from backups. My son had plenty of visitors coming to visit as well, which prompted me to restart work on my model railway in the basement. Last year I received a whole heap of track, and also a tunnel formation from a friend at work. I managed to finish the supporting structure for the tunnel, and connect one end of it to the existing track layout. The next step (which will be a bit harder) is to connect the other end of the tunnel into the existing layout. The basement is one of the favourite things for me to keep my son and his friends occupied when there is a visit. The railway and music studio are very popular with the little guests.

Debian

  • Packaged latest Gramps 4.2.5 release for Debian so that it will be part of the Stretch release.
  • Package latest abcmidi release so it too would be part of Stretch. The upstream author had changed his website, so it took a while to locate a tarball.
  • Tested my latest patches to convert Cree.py to Qt5, but found another Qt4 – Qt5 change to take into account (SIGNAL function). I ran out of time to fully investigate that one, before Creepy was booted out of testing again. I am seriously considering the removal of Cree.py from Debian, as the upstream maintainer does not seem very active any more, and I am a little tired of being upstream for a project that I don’t actually use myself. It was only because it was a reverse dependency of osm-gps-map that I originally got involved.
  • Started preparing a Gramps 5.2.5 backport for Jessie, but found that the tests I enabled in unstable were failing in the Jessie build. I need to investigate this further.

Ubuntu

  • Announced the Ubuntu Studio 16.02.2 point release date on the Ubuntu Studio mailing lists asking for testers. The date subsequently got put back to February the 9th.
  • Upgraded my Ubuntu Studio machine from Wily to Xenial.

Other

  • Resurrected my old Drupal Gammon One Name Study website. I used Drupal VM to get the site going again, before transferring it to the new webhost. It was originally a Drupal 7 site, and I did not have the required versions of Ansible & Vagrant on my Ubuntu Xenial machine, so the process was quite involved. I will blog about that separately, as it may be a useful lesson for others. As part of that, I started on a backport of vagrant, but found a bug which I need to follow up on.
  • Also managed to extract my old WordPress blog posts from the same machine that had the failed Drupal instance, and import them into this blog. I also learnt some stuff in that process that I will blog about at some point.

Plan status from last month & update for next month

Debian

Before the 5th February 2017 Debian Stretch hard freeze I hope to:

For the Debian Stretch release:

Generally:

  • Finish the Gramps 5.2.5 backport for Jessie.
  • Package all the latest upstream versions of my Debian packages, and upload them to Experimental to keep them out of the way of the Stretch release.
  • Begin working again on all the new stuff I want packaged in Debian.

Ubuntu

  • Finish the ubuntustudio-lightdm-theme, ubuntustudio-default-settings transition including an update to the ubuntustudio-meta packages. – Still to do (actually started today)
  • Reapply to become a Contributing Developer. – Still to do
  • Start working on an Ubuntu Studio package tracker website so that we can keep an eye on the status of the packages we are interested in. – Started
  • Start testing & bug triaging Ubuntu Studio packages. – Still to do
  • Test Len’s work on ubuntustudio-controls – Still to do

Other

  • Try and resurrect my old Gammon one-name study Drupal website from a backup and push it to the new GoONS Website project. – Done
  • Give JMRI a good try out and look at what it would take to package it. – In progress
  • Also look at OpenPLC for simulating the relay logic of real railway interlockings (i.e. a little bit of the day job at home involving free software – fun!).

Gammon One-Name-Study website back in operation

Finally, I once again have a website for my Gammon One Name Study with the Guild of One Name Studies. Back in 2014, my AWS Drupal and WordPress instances died, and I was not able to get things going again.

Luckily, the bright people at the Guild of One Name Studies thought it would be a good idea if they were able to host websites for their members. It is one of the goals of the Guild, to publish all research results. So, the Guild Member Website Project was born.

At first, only HTML websites, WordPress & Wikimedia based websites & ones created using TNG were supported by the project. When I recently read that Drupal was available, I set about resurrecting my old Drupal site from backups. And here it is:

Gammon One Name Study Website

The process to get it up and running again was quite involved, so I will blog about that separately. Today, I added the last family group page, and then checked and corrected all the links and added back some missing images on this blog. Hopefully I am now back where I was in 2014, with everything working.

HORN Family Group

Somehow or other, I ended up publishing some information about the HORN Family Group, but did not seem to have a blog about it. This may have been because I did not have an accurate backup of my old blog, and it has been lost, or it was an oversight.

Anyway, here is a new post, and here is a link to the HORN Family Group.

Welcome to my new Jekyll based Family History website! — Ross Gammon’s Family History Website

A long time ago, when I was using Windows and busy researching my Family History, I created this website using a product called Netobjects Fusion. Back in 2010, I switched to using Linux and was no longer able to edit the website. Finally, I have converted the website to Jekyll. This allows me to edit…

via Welcome to my new Jekyll based Family History website! — Ross Gammon’s Family History Website

John James Gammon (abt 1733) of Lunenburg, Lawrencetown & Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia

I just processed a comment on my old blog, where Charles and Angela Pelletier sent a link to their Gammon family tree (John James Gammon, abt 1733, Nova Scotia).

This will no doubt link to some of the other Gammon trees from that area which I have started, but not finished processing. I need to get back to that!

Gramps – Python 3 encoding bug and 2 parallel release freezes

Gramps project

Gramps project

The Gramps project had recently received a lot of reports from users of the new Python 3 version of Gramps (4.1.1) that after they upgraded, Gramps did not function and there were lots of error messages. This was serious if they had not taken a backup before the upgrade, because the new database was not backwards compatible. This turned out to be because in the switch to Python 3, as part of the database upgrade some strings were being encoded in ASCII instead of Unicode. This was a problem for those non-English languages with special characters.

Nick produced a fix for this, and then Tim added a function that fixed the problem also for people that had already converted to 4.1.1 of Gramps. But this still left the problem that Debian and Ubuntu users were going very soon upgrade to 4.1.1 without the fix, and both Debian and Ubuntu are in freeze mode before they issue their next release.

With the help of Tim & Paul from the Gramps project, I was able to patch the version of Gramps (4.1.1) in Debian, and convince the Release Team to unblock the Debian freeze for this fix so that it would be part of the soon to be released Jessie. Then I also submitted a bug, and got this version of Gramps synced to Ubuntu Vivid (15.04).

So hopefully, things will go much smoother for Gramps users upgrading to the new Debian and Ubuntu in the next few months.